Call, text, and chat from your smartphone with Nimbuzz

Connect video, text, and phone to the Internet with beyond-cool app.

Nimbuzz combines a flexible messaging app with the Internet and social media to turn your smartphone into a mobile communications center. With Nimbuzz, you can make unlimited free video and voice calls; chat via video, audio, or text; share files; and more. Nimbuzz is compatible with nearly every device out there. It not only accesses the Nimbuzz network but also Facebook, Yahoo Messenger, MSN, and Gtalk. Got platforms? Nimbus does: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Java. A chat buddy feature lets you tweet, too. Updates include contact blocking and file forwarding.

We installed the Nimbuzz client on our Windows 7 PC. The first thing you need to do after that is to install the Nimbuzz app on your phone or other device. That's much easier than it sounds, and easier than we've seen in similar apps, thanks in part to a simple, wizard-style process that explains each step, including how to search for your device. Nimbuzz really is compatible with a lot of devices, as we learned when we quickly found downloads not only for our brand-spanking-new smartphone but also a not-so-smart-phone designed more than 5 years ago. After finding your device and model on drop-down lists, you must download JAD and JAR files and transfer them via Bluetooth or a USB cable, then open the JAD file and set up Nimbuzz. After that, you just need to create an account. You can do that on your phone, but it's easier to use the Web-based wizard. We clicked Create, filled in the blanks, and signed on in no time. Nimbuzz offers several extras, including the paid NimbuzzOut international calling service, which we didn't try (but we get the appeal).

How Nimbuzz appears on your device depends in part on what that device is (and, like ours, how smart it is) but the basic blue-on-orange look is the same. Once you've set up your address book, phone numbers, links, social media sites, and preferences, you'll be ready to live in the "N-World." Gladly, too: nothing we've seen puts it all in the palm of your hand quite like Nimbuzz.

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